|The Role of Technical and Vocational Education in the Educational System in Ghana (UNEVOC, 1994, 46 p.)|
The Government has put in place a number of innovative measures and strategies aimed at promoting the development of technical and vocational education.
a) In September, 1987, Ghana began to implement country-wide educational reforms which were aimed at giving a practical orientation to the educational system. In the past the system had emphasized the study of academic subjects, resulting in turning out from the educational institutions graduates who have not been equipped with any occupational skills. This made it difficult, and in many cases impossible for them to get employment. It was mainly to reverse this trend that the educational reforms were introduced.
b) To make education functional and development-oriented, the ongoing reforms aim not only at providing Ghanaian children with academic knowledge but also at equipping them with practical, vocational and technical skills which will enable them to function effectively in society on completion of their courses.
c) Another major change created by the reforms has been the restructuring of pre-university education from the 6 + 4 + 5+2 system to the 6+3+3 system, thus reducing its length from 17 to 12 years. In addition, the reforms brought about increased access to education.
d) The need to reinforce the process of the reform has led to the decision to expand and strengthen the technical and vocational education and training system and make it more relevant to present day needs.
e) A new Technical Institute has been opened at Wa, the capital of the Upper West Region of Ghana, to give the youth in a Region the opportunity to opt for technical and vocational education as an alternative to general education. Plans are also under way to open, in the near future, a new Technical Institute with emphasis on agriculture and fishing, at Amankwakrom in the Eastern Region.
f) Some of the old Technical Institutions have been refurbished to enhance their effectiveness in delivering technical and vocational education. Additionally, new items of equipment have been provided to existing Technical Institutes as well as Senior Secondary Schools.
g) In furtherance of the education reforms, as many as 100 new Secondary Technical Schools have been established in various parts of the country.
h) The reforms at the tertiary level of technical education are being carried out through:
i. the provision of staff training and development opportunities to match the upgrading of courses and curricula;
ii. upgrading of equipment, essential teaching materials and facilities in order to set and maintain higher national standards;
iii. promotion of the semester course unit system to facilitate the movement of students between institutions and also to enable students to take time off their studies to work and resume studies later;
iv. passing of a law for the establishment of a National Board for Professional and Technician Examinations to be responsible for the formulation and administration of schemes of examinations, evaluation, assessment and certification for all non-university institutions at the tertiary level;
v. establishing an efficient system of financial and resource management.
Improving The Quality of Technical Teachers
a) As part of the strategies to implement the educational reforms, steps have been taken to improve the quality of technical teachers.
b) Facilities have been provided at 10 of the existing initial Teacher Training Colleges to train technical teachers so as to increase the annual output of such teachers for the Junior Secondary Schools.
c) To increase the number of technical teachers for the Technical Institutes, the Senior Secondary Technical Schools, the Technical Teacher Training Colleges and the Polytechnics, a sandwich course has been introduced at the Advanced Technical Teachers' College at Kumasi alongside the existing full-time programme.
d), As a further means of improving the quality and performance of technical teachers, a few overseas training awards offered by Britain, Germany and Canada, among others, are made from time to time to technical teachers to enable them update and upgrade their knowledge and skills in their areas of specialisations as well as in pedagogy. For the same purpose, a lot more technical teachers undertake further courses with pay in local institutions to improve upon their qualifications.
In-service training seminars and workshops on various relevant subject areas are also organized periodically by the Ghana Education Service for practising technical teachers to upgrade their knowledge or learn new techniques and latest developments in their areas of specialization as well as in educational technology.
Enhancing The Effectiveness of heads of Technical Institutes
Recognising that the Principal of a Technical Institute is generally the chief academic and administrative officer and has responsibility for the smooth running of the Institute, the Ghana Education Service (GES) has been organizing seminars and workshops from time to time for Principals of the Technical Institutes that are under the administration of the Ghana Education Service. The purpose is to enable them to carry out their numerous managerial, administrative and other duties effectively and efficiently.
These seminars and workshops help the Principals not only to gain an understanding of human relations to enable them get on with their staff, students and the general public, but also to acquire an insight into up-to-date management techniques. Additionally, they attempt to introduce the Principals to all aspects of the operation of a Technical Institute.
Owing to financial and other constraints, however, the GES is not able to organise the seminars and workshops on a regular and recurrent basis for the Principals. It is envisaged that when conditions become favourable, more systematic and regular training programmes will be run for them.
Besides the seminars and workshops which the GES organises for the Principals, the Executive of the Association of Principals of Technical Institutions (APTI) organises conferences regularly for the Principals. At such conferences the Principals exchange ideas on matters of common interest and discuss their problems and find fitting solutions to them.
Ghana Education Staff Development Institute
To provide the opportunity for all the different categories of educational personnel to upgrade, update and generally improve their knowledge and professional competence, the Ghana Education Service has established the Ghana Education Staff Development Institute at Ajumako, where in-service training courses are run on a regular and continuing basis for both teaching and non-teaching personnel, including administrators, heads of institutions, inspectors and guidance and counselling personnel.
Upon the encouragement of the Technical and Vocational Education Division of the Ghana Education Service, some of the Technical Institutes have established Production Units, where their students are engaged in producing goods and providing services in real-life situations for customers on semi-commercial basis. This gives the students the opportunity to acquire practical experience at the shop-floor level and also enable the Technical Institutes to generate some income to supplement government grants for their operations. Because of its usefulness, the Production Unit system is being extended to all the other technical institutions in the country.
To motivate the students to enter into self-employment at the end of their course, it is intended to introduce a "tool-acquisition scheme" under the Production Unit system. By means of this scheme, the students will use the incomes realized from the income-generating activities they undertake to acquire for themselves, over a specified period, some basic tools to help them "take off" smoothly in the world of work, especially in the area of sell-employment individually or co-operatively on a micro/small-scale basis.